Egyptian migrant workers in Kuwait seeking repatriation have raised a riot after being held in shelters dedicated for those in violation of the Gulf Arab state’s residency laws, state media said.
Kuwaiti security forces broke up the “riots and chaos” at a housing area for foreign workers, detaining an unspecified number of people, according to the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
Such protests are rare in the tightly controlled Gulf countries, where there is a large population of foreign workers.
Representatives of the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait went to the shelter and reassured workers that repatriation flights would begin this week, the statement said.
On Sunday, KUNA quoted Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait Tareq al-Qooni as saying that Egyptians at a camp for immigration offenders will be repatriated starting “this week”.
“The first flights will be for women and children who are kept in special housing units,” Mr. Qooni reportedly said.
Kuwait has said it will allow expatriates in violation of residency laws to leave the Gulf country without paying fines or for plane tickets.
Millions of foreigners across the wealthy Gulf nations face uncertainty amid the coronavirus crisis, with many workers sick and countless others unemployed, unpaid and at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.
Kuwait has among the lowest infection counts in the region at some 5,278 cases with 40 deaths. (Source: The Straits Times)